ILLINOIS — About this time of year, every year, we bring you stories about driviers sharing the road with other modes of transportation, especially motorcycles. 

The month of May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, but motorcycle riders say this conversation needs to sink in for drivers year round. 

“Just getting out with the wind in your hair,” said Denise Strube-Pieper. “It’s freedom.”

Warmer temperatures mean more motorcycles on the road. In May, motorcycle safety is front of mind. Statistics show those who choose two wheels over four are 35 times more likely to be in a deadly accident. Despite all the data, riders say there’s a freedom being behind the handle bars.

“I enjoy the open air and the breeze,” said Ron Brown. “It’s just relaxing.”

It’s not just a motorcycle rider’s responsibility to watch for drivers on the road. 

“When you ride a motorcycle, you ride for everybody around you,” said Brown. “You got to watch people coming up behind you, on the sides of you. I watch for objects on the side of the road.”

There are even rules for when you’re not driving. According to Illinois’ Litter Control Act, it’s illegal for people to blow grass cuttings in the roads.

“It can get slippery and people don’t realize that,” said Brown. “They think, well, it’s just grass clippings, yes, but when it gets wet, look out.”

“Grass clippings, gravel, all of that is very dangerous for us,” said Strube-Pieper.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows a 3% decrease in crashes reported in 2017. A swing in the opposite direction from the previous year. For those who use the roadways in Central Illinois the importance of safety and sharing the road has neveer been more necessary.

The following are the 10 most common causes of motorcycle accidents, according to Politis & Matovina, P.A.

Unsafe lane changes. A driver risks colliding with a motorcyclist when he or she fails to check his or her blind spot or signal when changing lanes.
Car doors. Some motorcycle accidents occur when a driver opens the door of their parked vehicle in the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
Speeding. A leading cause of all types of auto accidents, speeding reduces a vehicle’s chance of seeing and reacting to other drivers in time to prevent a collision. The higher the speed, the greater the impact and the more severe the consequences.
Driving under the influence. Drivers who cause accidents because they were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may face both civil and criminal liability.
Lane splitting. Driving between two lanes of traffic is called “lane splitting.” This practice is not legal in Florida and is especially dangerous for inexperienced riders.
Sudden stops. Rear-end accidents resulting from following too closely or an abrupt stop can result in serious injury or death to a motorcyclist.
Inexperienced drivers. Inexperienced drivers are likely to make unsafe moves on the road that could compromise the safety of other motorists.
Left turn accidents. Right of way errors or misjudgments of distance while making a left turn are common causes of injury and death to motorcycle riders.
Dangerous road conditions. Crumbling pavement, potholes, debris, and a lack of necessary signals and signs can all increase a motorcycle rider’s chances of losing control of his or her vehicle.
Motorcycle defects. The manufacturer of a poorly designed or manufactured motorcycle part can be held liable for any injuries or deaths arising from use of the defective part.